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County approves second mapping flight
April 08, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Next spring, Scotts Bluff County will make another aerial pass of the county to update its property inventory, a process that also helps the county provide a number of services.

At their April 4 meeting, county commissioners approved a contract for a pictometry spring flight for 2017. Pictometry uses multiple pictures of properties, taken at different angles, to produce a clearer, more accurate renderings of all the structures in the county.

Suzanne Wick, GIS Administrator for the county, said pictometry allows for more accurate corners and line measurements for sections of land. The picture imaging system has saved money in the Assessor’s Office, as fewer personnel are needed in the field to make exact measurements of both land and structures.

Wicks added that several other county departments also use the pictometry system. The 911 emergency communications center can see a more detained image for where to send emergency personnel. The Roads Department uses the images to better determine right of way boundaries and where traffic signs are located. The Weed Control Department used the images to pinpoint where noxious weeds are becoming a problem.

Municipal law enforcement personnel are also able to use the images to provide better emergency services to the public. Several cities also help support the cost of the system.

The first pictometry flight of Scotts Bluff County was in 2013, when commissioners approved two flights. “The imagery has improved since that first flight,” Wick said. “I brought the issue to the county board so they know what’s going on and how it’s being used.”

County Board Chairman Mark Masterton said the pictometry has been a useful tool for the county. “We can get high resolution pictures of properties from both overhead and oblique angles,” he said. “This is especially useful in assessing, surveying and determining where all the utility hookups are located.”

Wick said pictometry had helped the county with tax revenue, especially in the Assessor’s Office. Since the first flight, they’ve picked up several structures that didn’t appear on the tax rolls. On occasion, a structure is torn down, but the owner neglects to report it to the county, which leaves it on the tax list. Pictometry allow for a more accurate description of the all properties in the county.

Masterton said another pictometry feature that could be used to map building interiors. Images of exit and entry points, room locations and other details could be inputted into the system. Fire or police personnel would then know the building’s layout in case an emergency response was required.
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